The amount of stuntin’ involved here… I’m sick.
Serena Williams covers Vogue Magazine’s April 2015 edition with a beautiful serious face and a minor reduction in those arm gains, and on the inside talks about her close friendship with Caroline Wozniacki.
Yes, that Wozniacki.
A few of the best excerpts from the story:
But as Serena Williams has entered the golden age of her career, a moment when her fitness, court intelligence, and legendary focus have combined to make her practically unbeatable, she has done something that has surprised many in the tennis world. She has mellowed. You can see it in her friendship with Wozniacki. You can see it in the confident way she cruised to victory against Sharapova last January in Australia. “I was really calm and positive,” she tells me later about her nineteenth Grand Slam title. “I knew I couldn’t get crazy on the court. I have done everything I wanted to do in tennis. There’s nothing missing, so all I have to do is go out there and do what I do best.”
Only minutes earlier, Williams had been complaining about the layer of winter weight that had settled around her body. In a few weeks, she will begin the intense training that precedes her Grand Slam events, training that will clearly pay off at the Australian Open. “I should have gone on a diet weeks ago,” she moans.
“We all get that off season,” Wozniacki reassures her. I’m not sure what they were talking about. Both look magnificently fit. Earlier that month Wozniacki had even run the New York City Marathon, a project she undertook to help her forget that November was the month she was to have been married. And Williams has long been among the most powerful players on the tour, thanks, initially, to Venus, who insisted they hire a physiotherapist when they were still teenagers. “Nowadays everybody goes to the gym,” Serena says. “But when I won my first Grand Slam, I had never been.” Even then, however, she was ambivalent about her naturally muscular physique, refusing to lift weights lest her arms get bigger. “I hated my arms,” she remembers. “I wanted them to look soft.” To this day, she uses TheraBands instead of weights to avoid overdeveloping her muscles.
Once the sisters started training seriously, everything in women’s tennis changed, of course, something Mary Joe Fernandez remembers all too well. “When I started out, it was about being consistent and steady. When they started hitting with so much power, everybody had to change their game too.” At 28, and recovering from wrist surgery, Fernandez didn’t think she could make that transition, so she retired. Now, however, she appreciates having the Williamses around on the Fed Cup tour so the younger players can see up close just how hard they work. “Serena is in the gym every day and before every match, doing her stretches and warm-up. She is so strong but so flexible. She can do the splits. Her core is like a rock. That stuff doesn’t come naturally; that comes from work.”
That’s dedication. (That also speaks to the success of non-gym workouts. They can get it done!)
On, ahem, that event:
She got an opportunity to be supremely forgiving of Wozniacki in 2012 when Caroline blatantly stuffed her bra and skirt in an imitation of Serena’s physique during an exhibition match in Brazil. It was meant as a joke. “I never would’ve done it if Serena and I weren’t friends,” Wozniacki says. “And hey, who wouldn’t want big boobs?”
“Me,” Serena puts her hand up. “Hello? Me!”
Glad to know that most of the blogging on that was wrong, and that the two are in fact good friends.
Serena Williams hates losing so badly that she won’t play a game during practice, preferring instead to concentrate on the structure of a single point. “I am such a perfectionist, if I lose a game,” she says, “I go crazy.” As much as she wants to win, she can’t help feeling kind of bad when her good friend loses. After that bruising showdown in Singapore, Williams slipped a note into Wozniacki’s bag, a drawing of an eye and a heart. It was a gesture both tender and surprisingly girlish, but it worked. “I was upset I couldn’t close that match out,” Wozniacki says. “So when Serena came into the locker room and said, ‘I’m sorry,’ I was mad and said, ‘Will you retire?’ But then I got the note, and it was sweet, so I got over it.”
That’s…. okay, that’s just too cute.
You can read more of Serena’s story on Vogue.com right now. And bow before that almighty mane!